Friday, June 28, 2013

Roasted Peach Iced Chai

I know I've been on a preachy kick lately about GM ingredients but it is a really important issue to me. My Facebook friends must be so sick of my horror story GMO posts but I just want to keep spreading the word and make my family, friends and readers all aware of whats going on with our food these days.

 I've had a super busy season so far. Between the little munchkins, everyday housewife duties and running my small business,I've just been swamped. I was asked to try out some goodies that were organic and GM free and thank goodness I did because they were such a life saver during such a hectic few weeks. I've posted before on my love of Chai tea but the one Davidson's sent me was out of this world! I roasted some fresh organic peaches with a little cane sugar and blended my tea with some roasted peach puree.

Chai is usually super high in caffeine so a caffeine free version was just what I needed. I LOVE LOVE LOVE chai. but after a morning coffee and an afternoon protein smoothie, sometimes you can feel like you are on caffeine overload. I am thrilled I can now have some afternoon Chai without the caffeine!

I was also sent some AMAZING GM-Free fig bars in a bunch of flavors. My favorite by far was the vanilla, but the blueberry was delicious also. This is a healthy treat that I feel comfortable feeding my 3 year old. And they were such a life saver to have in the diaper bag for myself & my hubby on the run.

 They were also dairy free for those of us who are intolerant or are nursing dairy sensitive kiddos..My one recommendation to Nature's Bakery is to remove the caramel color. I think us mama's are ok with  a fig bar not being visually appealing if that means there are less additives and unnecessary ingredients for our families.
I've even seen these guys at Costco! If you are a member and can get the box of these yummies at a bulk price I wouldn't pass it up. 

For an on the run,yummy dessert like treat with half the calories, sugar and preservatives as your leading grocery store "healthy bars" natures bakery for sure takes the cake.. Or should I say fig!

Recipe For Roasted Peach Iced Chai

4 fresh organic peaches quartered
1/4 cup pure cane sugar
5 bags of Davidson's Organic Spiced Chai
1 qt boiling water
1 qt cold water
lots and lots of ice!

Cut peaches in half and then in half again and sprinkle with sugar
In a 415 degree oven roast your peaches for 20-30 minutes or until the tops are carmelized and gooey and they slide right off the skin with a fork. 

Steep your tea bags in boiling water for 8 minutes (I find this is the perfect strength for iced)

Puree your peaches with an emulsion blender, food processor  and then strain any of the larger pieces out.

Add puree too your cold water and then pour the brewed tea right over.

Add ice to your pitcher and enjoy!!!

House Of J was sent these products gratis to review but the views and opinions expressed are 100% my own. House Of J is not paid in exchange for advertising.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Chevron Toy Story Double Birthday Celebration

It finally happened...

Our double Toy Story birthday celebration was a hit! It took months of planning, but working with some really awesome small business vendors from all over the web and seeing my little munchkins having a blast made it all worth it...

Our photographer Lucas was great. He showed up early and hung out for most of the day just capturing some really great moments. And of course the GOODIES!!

If your a long time follower of House Of J you know that I LOVE "The Pioneer Woman". For the second year in a row I used her "Tres Leches" cake recipe. It is just one of those rich, delicious cakes that you just can't go wrong using.

I doubled the recipe, used only organic ingredients and decorated it to look like the Toy Story opening scene of Andy's sky & cloud painted bedroom wall. Using only completely natural & chemical free color and flavor for the whipped cream frosting.

Instead of handwriting my little munchkins names (which never looks as perfect as a bakery cake)I called on my friend over at Pegged By Grace. She hand painted this adorable trio of Woody, Buzz & Jessie. These went perfectly with my simple design and really made their cake extra special. Especially because they now get to play with them!

Of course...I had made a cute little Julia & Jacob bunting but completely forgot about it...Mama brain strikes again.

The dessert table was so fun. We used little pails and some odd shaped vases and filled them with homemade organic gum drops, sixlets (definitely not chemical free, but it IS a party after all) and some licorice as "lassos". My love of chevron really came together so well and the chevron ribbon and little chalkboard stick signs really added something special. I especially love the touch of simple bakers twine around the vases.

I also really wanted to incorporate the edible ice cream cone tea cups that have been popping up all over pinterest lately. What better way than to fill them with homemade chocolate mousse and name them Mrs. Nesbit's Teacups! I used organic ice cream cones, organic vanilla wafers and the chocolate mousse was made with local Colorado farm eggs! Martha Stewart's Mousse recipe is fool proof, just swap out the sugars, eggs and cream with all organic ingredients and you've got yourself a pretty amazing treat! Along side my little tea cups where some home made French macarons with mocha ganache filling. 

And I of course had to include my signature cold brewed iced coffee with Tres Leches creamer.

What really gave our desert table that extra WOW factor was all of the awesome props. The center pieces on this table were made from CScutecrafts and she really went above and beyond, wrapping them with ribbon and even made a lawn sized Woody, which made my lil cowgirl shriek with joy.
The Happy Birthday signs were made by LoveLaughterCrafter and her centerpieces where used on the beverage table as well as the back drop. Jenn, from Love Laughter Crafter was a doll and her Happy Birthday Signs really made our photos that much more exciting. The paper cake stand liner really helped my macarons stand out. It was made by PetitePommeDesign.

For you crafty party planning mamas out there. Here are some fabulous resources for some great crafty party ideas. 

I used my bakers twine and these adorable little wooden utensils with a chevron stamp. I chose my colors at a local craft store and stamped each piece by hand. set them in some colored napkins and wrapped with twine. I absolutely adore them, and even saved a few :) 

For even more chevron I also ordered little treat bags and created labels with the kiddos names on them for our little guests to fill up as favors. I made the dark and white chocolate Mr. Potato head mustaches using paper chevron straws too! Eco friendly AND fashionable!

For non dessert related favors we had little sheriff's badges, labelled water bottles and these adorable little crayon rolls made by Crafts By Nancy that were made so beautifully, and went with our colors and theme to a T. 

A party wouldn't be complete without a little bit of art work! I had two fabulous artists create some great pieces for our side table & sliding doors. Entropy Trading Co sent me this great minimalist movie poster. Julia always talks about her Woody's boot that says Andy. She really loves it, it decorated our beverage table and now decorates her room! Our "to infinity and beyond" Vinyl decal by Grabers Graphics was the perfect introduction to our party abyss. I still have it on my sliding doors, it's just perfect for our summer fun in our backyard.

It was an amazing day with great new friends, beautiful weather and happy kids all around. I cannot wait to find out what my munchkins will be into for their next birthday celebration!

dessert table center pieces and Woody lawn sign-
Toy Story crayon rolls-
Side table/beverage table center pieces and Happy Birthday backdrop signs-
Window "To Infinity" vinyl decal-

Honorable mentions:
Pick Your Plum- bakers twine, wooden utensils, chevron treat bags, chevron table runner
KidsLabelKreations-water bottle label design
Plaid Barn-Chalk board signs & chevron ribbon
Petite Pomme Design-cake stand liner

These images are owned by House of J and cannot be altered or edited in any way. Failure to comply could result in legal action.
A few of these party supplies were supplied to House Of J gratis. All opinions however are my own and I have not been compensated for advertising.